Written by: Nicky Barker, Founder of Little Ones & Paediatric Sleep Specialist
Room: Dark, white noise, baby sleeping bag
Naps: catnaps all day at random times
Overnight: waking every 1-2 hours
Little Noah had never really been a very "sleepy" baby, even as a newborn. His mother, Sarah, felt like it was a constant battle to get him to go to sleep during the day and he'd then wake 40 minutes later for every nap. Up until around 4 months old, Noah had started doing some decent stretches at night - 4 to 5 hours in a go - however that had all changed. Now, as well as the small catnaps in the day, he had started waking every 1-2 hours overnight and needing Sarah to help him back to sleep by feeding him.
Because of this pattern of poor naps and fragmented night sleep, Noah was a pretty cranky, tired little dude and Sarah just didn't know how to help him sleep better.
After reading some information online, Sarah tried making Noah's room really dark, in the hope this would help his night sleep. She also started using some white noise. Unfortunately, these things didn't seem to make much difference and, frustrated, Sarah started seeking more solutions. She came across Little Ones and purchased our Ultimate Sleep Program.
Straight away Sarah could see that the suggested nap times and lengths in the Program were really different to what Noah had been doing and she was very sceptical as to whether her wakeful baby would adapt to the new sleep patterns we suggested. She even considered asking for a refund before she'd tried the Program! Through guidance with the Sleep Consultants in our support village, Sarah started Noah on the daily sleep schedule for 4-6 months. This was the best place to start in an endeavour to get a bit of structure and consistency going with Noah's days.
Because Noah was being fed to sleep, Sarah learnt that this had become his sleep dependancy and in order to achieve longer naps and more consolidated night time sleep, Noah needed to learn to fall asleep independently. Once Sarah was working towards an age-appropriate nap pattern during the day she was able to start on our gradual self-settling method for fed-to-sleep babies. This method works with a baby's preferred sleep association, making the learning process smoother and calmer for everyone.
Coupling the good daytime routine and the self-settling method proved to be really successful. Within a few days, Noah's chronic night wakes had reduced to just two wakes overnight for a milk feed, then one. His naps became predictable and, although Sarah had to resettle Noah during his long lunchtime nap for a little while, once Noah had recovered from his sleep debt and had mastered the skill of self-settling, that lunchtime sleep fell into place too.
"I genuinely cannot believe the change in my baby! I really had thought we were beyond help and that I would just have to accept his terrible sleep for months and years to come, but I'm amazed how quickly he adapted to the program. I never thought we would be enjoying as much sleep as we are now and that it could be achieved in such a gentle, easy way. Best thing I ever did for my baby, hands down."
Little Noah had gone through the 4 month sleep regression where a baby's sleep cycles mature and become more differentiated. Here, their method of falling asleep becomes really important. Noah was used to being fed to sleep and this meant he was unable to then go back to sleep on his own between sleep cycles in the day and overnight, leading to short naps and a very fractured night sleep. Over time, this resulted in chronic overtiredness which was not sustainable for Noah, or his mother Sarah.
By aiming for a really age-appropriate daily nap schedule, which focused on getting the awake times and nap patterns spot on for Noah's developmental stage, and then working through our step-by-step gradual self-settling method, Sarah was able to dramatically improve her little boy's naps and night sleep. This was achieved without any sort of cry-based sleep training.
If, like Sarah, you're exhausted and seeking to improve your little one's sleep, whether it's naps, settling or night sleep, click here to access and download our comprehensive Sleep Programs, which come with Sleep Consultant support day and night.